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COVID-19 AND PRE-SCHOOL: THE CONTEXT OF CURRICULUM MODELLING

I. Bilbokaitė-Skiauterienė, R. Bilbokaitė

Vilnius University Siauliai Academy (LITHUANIA)
In the pandemic situation Lithuanian pre-school education institutions switched to distance education of children, which significantly changed the usual daily life of teachers, parents and children. The article discusses how pedagogues worked during the quarantine period, how they adapted and changed the curriculum and its presentation. The aim of this research is to reveal the opinion of pre-school teachers about the modelling of the curriculum in order to respond to the challenges that have arisen in the implementation of the distance learning process.

The article presents qualitative analysis of the reflections of pedagogues, employing the method of content analysis which enabled objective and systematic investigation of the features of the text, generalisation of information and formation of appropriate conclusions. 69 reflections of X Lithuanian kindergartens were analysed from September to November 2020. The content of the reflections was transcribed in separate protocols. The analysis has been conducted by consistently analysing the content of a text, dividing the content under investigation into analytical units.

The results of the research revealed that pre-school teachers, in order to ensure quality education during the quarantine period, remodelled the curriculum, used various IT programs (Padlet, Zoom, e-diary) to create and submit tasks, recommended activities, creative works, and social networks, which provided information that was quickly accessible and user-friendly to parents. Visual material (videos, audio recordings, video books, slides) was used to adapt the curriculum creatively.

The curriculum was consistent, prepared according to the curriculum of that time, without deviating from the planned activities, with more detailed each day’s educational material and the course of the day described in the distance learning plans. Although efforts were made to convey the planned curriculum, it was noted that it was narrowed down, simplified according to the characteristics of the student age group and the living conditions of children, as it was difficult to provide all information to parents and children remotely. It has also been thought about what tools children can have at home. The change in the content of education manifested in its presentation - the number of tasks, writing, and coloring works increased, the number of various imitation games decreased, and stories and demonstrations prevailed more. There has been an increase in the time spent implementing content when it comes to searching for information for activities.

Emphasis is placed on the increase in responsibility for teachers as the latter decided how to carry out the process of children's education. Pedagogues were not prepared to work in such a situation and learned to work with various programs themselves, cooperated with parents. Working remotely during the quarantine period is described by pedagogues as complex and stressful, and requiring the efforts of teachers and parents to overcome all challenges. The cooperation of parents, institutions, and administration was essential in this situation.

This study can be used as a basis for further research particularly in the process of ensuring the effectiveness of distance learning in pre-school education institutions.